IFLA marks World Refugee Day
20 June 2017
On World Refugee Day, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions wishes to highlight the richness and vibrancy of an inclusive and open society by reminding how libraries play an integral role in democratization and integration. IFLA believes that open societies are healthy societies and that libraries guarantee basic human rights by enabling access to information and knowledge for all.
Today, therefore, we wish to celebrate the work of libraries engaged in working with one of the most vulnerable segment of our societies: refugees and immigrants. As cultural institutions with a long history of inclusion, libraries are well-positioned to perform activities to support integration and multicultural practices. Libraries provide free access to computers and wi-fi, a safe and welcoming space to use to learn about the new host country and the immediate community, activities for children and families and a host of other services pivotal to the well-being of refugees.
Human emergencies such as conflicts and economic distress have caused tremendous mass movements. Tens of millions of individuals have fled war and persecution and they need our support to find a stable place they can call home. Children are uniquely vulnerable to the dangers caused by dislocation and migration. Unjustified barriers to the movement of people are cruel and contrary to human rights. These children and their families need guidance and support. Libraries represent safe-havens where they can start the process of integration.
IFLA believes that by giving people the access to information and support they need, we will have healthier society and stronger democracies.